Scientists Use 3D Printing to Create More Sustainable Plant-Based Food

(Updated October 18, 2019) Scientists and engineers have been experimenting with the use of 3D printers to create soy, according to

The website, which claims to be “the voice of 3D printing”, noted businesses that choose to 3D print soy products may be eligible to receive research and development tax credits. Creating soy products, such as tofu, with a 3D printer is easy, according to the website.

“Simply use a 3D printer to make a tofu press machine and then process your own tofu. This tofu press drains the water from the tofu parts allowing it to form individual foam-like squares…It is affordable and a great alternative for various types of tofu including fresh, soft, firm and even frozen tofu.”

Soy also works as a thermoplastic base for a number of 3D-printed food items. Many scientists and researchers are now using soy to print food, as well as different objects, in a bid to be more sustainable.

Tel Aviv-based Redefine Meat raised $6 million to further its development of 3D meat.

“Our goal is not just to develop a new food product, but to introduce a new technology for developing, producing and scaling alt-meat products,” Eshchar Ben-Shitrit, co-founder and CEO at Redefine Meat, said in a statement.

3D printing meat
3D-printing could change the meat industry.

A Cleaner, Greener Meat

“Businesses are looking for ways to become ‘greener’ and provide renewable resources to replace the petrochemical products are therefore are turning to soybeans,” stated. “The soybean is adaptable and can be used to feed humans and animals to develop products for everyday use.”

With veganism rising around the globe, soy products are in high demand; a report from December predicted the market value to hit $5.8 billion in the next five years. The reason, the report stated, is that people are on the search for alternatives to animal protein.

The vegan and vegetarian meat market is also booming, set to hit a value of $6.43 billion by 2023. Tofu and tempeh-based products, both created using soy, are leading the way, according to the report from Research and Markets released in March.

“Tempeh offers health benefits such as high antibody count, reduction in sugar levels in the body, muscle building, reduced risk of diabetes, and lower cholesterol levels in the body,” the report states.